Inside The Shocking “Kids for Cash” Juvenile Justice Scandal
Amy Goodman, a reporter for Democracy Now!, reported a shocking story about two corrupt judges in Pennsylvania who sent thousands of children away to a juvenile detention facility and received 2.6 million in kickbacks from the owners of those facilities. These judges sent children away for very minor offenses. Amy Goodman interviewed several people featured in the film who were involved in the scandal. She interviewed Charlie Balasavage, who was sent to juvenile detention after his parents unknowingly bought him a stolen scooter and Hillary Transue, who was detained for creating a MySpace page mocking her assistant high school principal. They were both 14 years old and were sentenced by Judge Mark Ciavarella. Ciavarella is now serving a 28 year sentence for the scandal.Goodman also spoke to two mothers: Sandy Fonzo, whose son Ed Kenzakoski committed suicide after being imprisoned for years by Judge Ciavarella, and Hillary’s mother, Laurene Transue. The article then goes into the interview script describing the interviewees’ experiences.
I could feel my blood pressure rising while reading this interview. The judges involved with this scandal, in my honest opinion, are a detriment to society. The fact that anyone can live with themselves after sending innocent children away for their own monetary benefit boggles my mind. These are elected officials who we are supposed to trust to keep us safe from dangerous criminals, not to send innocent children away for the most minor offenses.
The story that angered me the most was that of Ed Kenzakoski. In the interview, Ed’s mother described her son’s life changing sentencing. Ed was a star wrestler and was on his way to receiving a scholarship for his athletic abilities. He was just a normal teenager experimenting just like most his age. He started to drink with his friends, which again nothing out of the ordinary for a teenager to do. His father decided...